Reports from Iran say that a member of Erfane Halqeh, or Circle of Mysticism has been arrested in Esfahan by Revolutionary Guards' intelligence services.
Mizan, the news agency of Iran’s Judiciary reported on Monday that the individual was a key organizer of marches and gatherings by followers of the movement in Esfahan province. The name of the person arrested in Esfahan has not been published.
Mizan adds that the detainee “was the leader of a network linking” followers of the movement in many provinces and to members outside the country.
Circle of Mysticism was established in 2001 by Mohammad Ali Taheri, who was arrested in 2011 and is in jail. He preached and practiced “Iranian supplementary medicine, faith healing and scientology”.
Taheri was initially allowed to preach, practice and teach in public, and his classes and healing sessions were attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life, including the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commanders, IRGC and government officials. Several of his books were published with permission from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Then, the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei stepped in, warning against what he branded as “false mysticism that might lure people away from Islam”.
Immediately after Khamenei’s comments, Taheri was arrested in 2011. He was tried in a Revolutionary Court and condemned to death. In 2016, the supreme court rejected the verdict and returned Taheri’s case for “further investigation” to the Revolutionary Court.
Meanwhile, local and international human rights organizations and activists have been calling for Taheri’s immediate release.
In a recent campaign for releasing Taheri, three thousand followers of the mystical preacher have protested what they have called “outside pressures” on judges to prevent them issuing the spiritual leader’s release order